9:00 AM.Bleary eyed little boy trots up the stairs while an unsuspecting father is folding clothes in living room, and an unsuspecting mother is still passed out in bed (pregnancy).
Confusion followed by horror nearly overcome the father, but he is able to momentarily regain composure and grab a nearby camera to snap this photo. In his mind he tells himself "someday... this will be funny".
By now the paint fumes are beginning to drift upstairs. He bites his lip; braces himself for the worst.
He takes the stairs 3 at a time and swings open Picasso's door.
He dies a little inside as he watches new-ish carpet soaking up a half gallon of white paint.
His eyes follow a carpet streaked and dotted with patterns up a decorated dresser, over a dip-dyed stool, and across an unreadable Bible...
... and then drops to his knees uttering fervent prayers that Toy Story is not real.
So what the heck happened?
I've been working on a mural for Eli & Si's shared bedroom for the last few weeks. It's a perpetual work zone with several gallons of primary colors, brushes, paper towels, pencils, erasers, etc. This is not an unusual environment for our children. We are a "project" family. We are a "paint" family.
At the same time, my eldest has never been a kid who "gets into things". Teetering stacks of laundry left untouched. In progress mommy-paintings avoided. In all his 4 years I have zero photos of a memorable mess... including food-related ones. In other words, I felt relatively safe leaving the art supply section of A.C. Moore overnight in his room. We used to assume it was just his laid back personality, but 2 years ago found out that his disdain for mess and disorder were related to autism. And strangely we spent a significant period of time in mourning as we watched other children eat food with their hands and play in the sand and learn to swim- not b/c we wanted the mess, but b/c we hurt for our child who was afraid of all these new experiences.
I know most of you reading this are rolling your eyes at the idea of longing for mayhem... but after a steady stream of "this isn't normal"'s from professional after professional, seeing your child feel comfortable enough to paint his own body and then allow it to harden and dry on his skin and not care? That's progress. That's therapy working. That's my FEARLESS boy.
Yeah- he still got punished though. :)